During this “National Sleep Awareness Week,” many people are becoming more aware of their LACK of sleep.
In our stressed out, plugged in, amped up society, sleep seems to take a back seat to working, playing, facebooking, texting and even surfing.
In fact, about 20% of Americans experiences moderate to excessive daytime sleepiness.
So what’s the big deal?
Not getting the sleep you need can lead to a host of problems including:
- Depressed mood
- Martial strain
- Reduced productivity
- Tendency to overeat
- Weight gain
- Alcohol abuse
- Difficulty concentrating
- Slower reaction times (leading to hundreds of thousands of accidents each year
- Weakened immune system (leading to sickness)
Doesn’t sound too happiness- inducing, does it?
The good news, though, is that getting a good night’ sleep can be pretty easy IF you take some important steps:
1) Prioritize sleep: schedule your sleep and stick to the schedule. Set an alarm, if you need to, to remind yourself to get to bed.
2) Optimize your sleeping conditions.. Turn off the TV, computer and cell phone so they don’t disturb you. Make your bedroom sleep friendly, too, by providing comforts such as soft bedding and thick curtains.
3) Follow a wind-down routine to help you relax before bedtime. Take a warm shower, listen to relaxing music with the lights dimmed, meditate or read. Relaxing the body and mind before getting into bed can also help decrease stress and stressful thoughts.
4) Keep your thoughts in check. Thoughts such as “I have to get sleep tonight or I won’t be able to function tomorrow . . .” will only stress you out. For some, keeping a journal next to their bed is helpful. In it, they can write down what’s on their mind before bed, or if they wake up in the middle of the night with an idea, they jot it down and then go back to sleep. This helps to keep the thoughts out of their head when it’s not a convenient time to think about them.
5) Watch what you eat and drink close to your bedtime. Caffeine, nicotine and alcohol all deter a good sleep, so try to keep the first two (if necessary) to hours before five o’clock pm. Alcohol may help you fall asleep, but can severely inhibit restful and consistent sleep; try a warm bath or relaxation CD prior to bed instead of an alcoholic drink.
Try these five steps to get a better night’s sleep and be an even happier you!!!